Tulsi Gabbard Voted to Make It Virtually Impossible for Syrian Refugees to Come to the U.S.

Refugees coming to the U.S. are already subject to a rigorous, years-long vetting process and the U.S. has taken in few Syrian refugees. And yet Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard joined with almost every Republican in voting for the “American Security Against Foreign Enemies Act” which would have made it virtually impossible for Syrian and Iraqi refugees to come to the U.S.

The bill stipulated that Syrian and Iraqi refugees would have to pass intensive background checks conducted by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Due to the dearth of information on Syrian nationals in FBI databases, refugees would have to come up with extensive documentation of their identities — passports, birth certificates, marriage licenses, property records — for the FBI to authenticate, an impossible task given that they fled war zones with little if any paperwork. The few refugees that did manage to meet the stringent legal standards of an FBI screening would then have to be individually and personally certified that they pose no terrorism risk by the director of the FBI, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, and the director of National Intelligence.

Senator Bernie Sanders, progressives, and anti-racist activists universally opposed this bill. An online petition his presidential campaign circulated read:

In terms of the Syrian refugee situation we are now facing, now is not the time for us to succumb to racism and bigotry. In this moment, it is particularly important that we not allow ourselves to be divided by the anti-immigrant hysteria that Republican presidential candidates are ginning up.

When hundreds of thousands of people have lost everything and have nothing left but the shirts on their backs, we should not turn our backs on these refugees escaping violence in the Middle East. Of course we have to investigate the backgrounds of people coming into the country — and we will — but to suggest that we would even turn away orphans is incredible.

Support continuing the refugee program that promises to resettle 10,000 Syrians, mostly women and children, who are escaping violence in their home country.

Tulsi Gabbard succumbed to racism and bigotry. She turned her back on Syrian refugees and joined Republicans in scapegoating them. No wonder South Asian and Muslim progressives came up with the hashtag #TulsiGottaGo to draw attention to her awful right-wing record on these issues.

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